A weird episode in Internet “marketing” this week. A real company, HUVr Tech, seeking funding sought buzz. First, they faked up a Promo video for Hoverboards, complete with the famous and Back to the Future references. Note the 0 noise and that the video is named “belief” (on their web site). They apparently used the Back to the Future wire harness.
Fake promotions and fake apologies? Lame. Pranks are funny only if you include the punchline. Has their home page been updated to reflect this? Nope. This is what they think of their possible customers?
Tags: first nations, overview, treaty negotiations
The City of Vancouver has produced a Guide for newcomers to aid in establishing roots here. Along with that is an overview of local First Nations (PDF) as it’s often something an immigrant is interested in but not always readily accessible. It’s also a useful general summary of local First Nations for everyone.
As may be obvious from the maps, there is a great deal of overlap in traditional territories. Lands were not owned and thus not formerly defined by fixed boundaries. Rather, they were working territories that included seasonal uses. When finally the provincial government agreed to treaty negotiations, they began by working with individual nations. But until the overlaps had been negotiated and defined, it created an unfair process and problems with individual treaties. Not every nation was as far along in establishing self-government expertise to handle such an important representation. Instead, the nations needed to negotiate amongst themselves and bring that agreement to the provincial government to negotiate their own settlement. This required a common meeting ground as this Chiefs document (PDF) reviews.
We have a rich history, far beyond a one hundred year-old building or a European sailing ship.
I recently commented on Nassim Haramein’s take on Dark Matter. Here is more detail, from a recent comment.
In modern physics, field equations within the “standard model” predict that there is a certain amount of stuff (matter) out there in the universe. However, when looking for the predicted mass with telescopes and other advanced technology, it was realized that most of the mass that was predicted to be there was actually “missing”, not just a little bit of it… 96% of the matter was missing(!)
At this point you might expect a reexamining and consequential adjustment in the predictive model, instead, a new type of matter was invented “out of thin air” in hopes it could make all the equations work out. They needed to come up with a highly technical term for this new type of invented matter and since they couldn’t seem to find it anywhere they decided to call it…. “dark matter” and “dark energy”.
Perhaps the mass is “missing” because of another fundamental error in the standard model, one that that got rid of a rather incredibly large (approaching infinite) number that represents how dense empty space actually is. Most physics students are not even aware of this mathematical trick called “renormalization” where the density of space was effectively ignored despite the scientifically verified through experiment (the Casmir effect) density of space-time itself in peer reviewed and published laboratory experiments.
Perhaps we are getting closer to the point where the standard model realizes there is no such thing as “dark matter” and that the missing mass is in fact the energy within the structure of the space-time manifold itself, something that Nassim Haramein has predicted in his unified field theory model for many years.
Recently, I explored the idea of getting a game console. I liked the Nintendo boxes as they had fun sports games and were modestly priced. However, the newer Nintendo consoles are oddly designed or overpriced. The WiiU has a large tablet-style controller. The Wii Mini has substantially reduced features over the original Wii. In fact, one site recommended you find a used Wii instead – they have more bang for the buck. Plus the earlier model Wii’s have the connections to play Gamecube games (with controllers and memory cards) too if you can find one. You may even find a new Wii around as they were just discontinued last fall.
Accessory’s are still very available as well as tons of games. The Wii games run on the new WiiU so will continue to be around. If you upgrade the TV cable to component, you get much higher quality video for modern screens – not the HD of the newer PS and Xbox consoles, but at 1/4 of the price. Plus the Wii motion controllers are a lot of fun. (waving a tablet?)
If you buy used and have no warranty to worry about, you also have the option to “homebrew” the Wii and add further abilities, like making it into a Media Centre that will not only play DVD’s but will play formats not supported by the big consoles. And you’ve got a “magic remote” already. You can play classic games you own, fully backup your Wii, and much more.
The process is a bit geeky and you have to follow the steps carefully but it’s not difficult. They suggest you review the FAQ’s and follow the instructions. All of the original Wii functionality remains.
See you at the baseball stadium. Or the bowling alley.
Periodically, I’ve recommended some tools that help keep your browsing safe. Web sites are the most common way of getting infections now. Not to mention tracking your activities and identity. I thought it was time for an update as the threats and tools continue to evolve.
Of course, the most important tool is common sense. Don’t go into bad neighbourhoods. Look before you leap.
I personally use the Firefox browser because it’s the most customizable. It’s also an open-source platform that’s not invested in making money from the collection of user data. That collection in itself leads to both privacy and security issues. Some consider Chrome superior but I have concerns about using too many Google services as they do collect user info for marketing. LifeHacker discusses the browser issues here.
This article is thus focused on securing Firefox on a Windows PC. Some of these tools or equivalents are also available for Chrome and Internet Explorer. This is not a review of all security tools but rather recommended examples in several categories, with a few caveats. All are free, unless otherwise noted.
Your first line of defence is of course a good Anti-Virus service and Firewall. With Windows 7, the built-in firewall is fine. The hardware firewall in routers is also advantageous. As for anti-virus, you can check testing sites like AV-Test for your choice. Some free ones are as good as the paid ones for basic protection. I’ve been using paid ESET NOD32 AV to good effect for some time.
Blocks most annoying 3rd party ads that slow down web sites and track your presence.
The first thing many suggest you install – it blocks the troublesome scripts on web sites, similar to the above. Lifehacker suggests this is redundant with AdBlock. I’ve been using both but they have come to overlap more.
RequestPolicy is a more aggressive version of this. With it, I typically found a web site was text-only until I worked out where their styles and functionality were loaded from and adjusted the settings. This is a bit of a guessing game that makes it less effective in practice to me.
Specifically targets tracking done by social networking services on other sites, like the omnipresent Facebook “Like” buttons that can track your browsing even without clicking.
This deletes “Super” or Flash cookies – a more invasive and persistent type of cookie. I’ve not found the deletion affects performance of any sites. But I was surprised how many some sites use.
None of these would be necessary if web sites played more politely with visitors.
Safe Sites marker:
WOT (Web of Trust)
This is a crowd-driven add-on that will flag your search results to warn you off of troublesome sites. (versions for most everyone)
This tool does not show up in search results unless you ask but can give an overview from 5 services, including WOT, before you click. (Norton now stingily blocks 3rd-party tools like this) I use it as a 2nd opinion if the WOT result is unexpected either way. I used to recommend LinkExtend similarly but it’s not been updated in some time.
A Virus Total tool to give a site or download link a deeper check with a right-click. How’s it fare with multiple anti-virus sources? A cautionary step before inviting something onto your computer from unknown sources.
(VT has other versions for Chrome and IE)
Shuts off nested links in Google search results to avoid click-tracking. Google will still track you but it reduces some of this and it makes copying web addresses, doing checks with the above tools and so forth much easier. It also makes Google faster.
StartPage.com is a search alternative that doesn’t track but uses Google. DuckDuckGo is also suggested but I’ve not found the results as useful. Both eliminate the “filter bubble” of targeted search results where your IP and history determine what you see, rather than what the larger world is discussing.
For secure passwords – much more secure storage that will fill-in login details and remember strong passwords for you. Way better than browser tools. I’ve recommended this before. RoboForm is also well-recommended but not free.
TIP – Avoid the temptation to use your social site logins on other sites. It makes you much easier to hack and track. That’s becoming all too common and is not in your best interest. Use distinct logins for every site and let something like LastPass help you keep track of them.
backs up your Add-ons, themes, and settings in Firefox automatically.
If you want to see how a site is tracking you, try Lightbeam.
Some of the other add-ons I’ve tried I found too aggressive. Lifehacker recommends Disconnect, for example. While it may reduce tracking, it also greatly reduces the functionality and display of web sites. Again it becomes a guessing game to know what needs OK. They have made you more anonymous but do it by breaking site features.
And if you’re also logged into a sister site, you’ve lost the advantage. Even worse if you’ve logged in using a social media sites credentials.
Browsing through a VPN, sandbox, or alias site would be more effective if privacy is a priority. Just keep in mind that the web is not about privacy but sharing. That’s why it’s called a world wide web. Anything you share often stays shared, beyond anything you may have imagined. A long-gone web site I built 16 years ago still has a copy on-line at the Wayback Machine, for example.
On the flip side, you may find this HowToGeek article useful – some browser add-ons are or have become spyware, reporting all of your browsing history and inserting ads on pages you visit. The article includes a follow-up list of troublesome ones to avoid or remove.
I considered moving away from popular webmail services to avoid some of the tracking but soon realized that many contacts use them, so the messages get tracked anyway. Email has not yet had this kind of functionality added. Another gold mine for advertisers.
A short film about “trophic cascade“- the cascading consequences of changes in individual species populations – especially of top-of-the-pyramid predators.
After 70 years absence, wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in the United States. They restored balance to grazing populations. This created a cascading effect that allowed the natural restoration of plant life, improvements in bear and rodent populations, and better river flows. Wolves changed the geography.
Many tell me they’re not worried if their computer dies – they’ll just buy another. But gradually as our lives go more digital, we start collecting digital things that are more difficult to lose. The password for the service you paid for. The holiday photos. Your oh-so-carefully prepared resume. Important contact information. The list gets larger and larger.
With that growing body of digital history, the need for decent backup grows. For most people, you want it to be automatic. Set it and forget it. Manual gets forgotten.
At the same time, you want a backup that works. If it’s not reliable or there are barriers to getting access to your key files during a failure, it’s not working. A backup is only useful if it can be easily restored. I’ve seen studies that show even expensive business backup solutions failed in practice the majority of the time.
Software and Data, Local and Remote
There are 2 types of stuff to back up and 2 types of places to put that backup.
The first type of stuff to backup is your operating system (OS) and programs. The key reason to do this is to get you up and running again as quickly as possible. Having to reinstall the OS, all your software, and all the updates can literally take days of your life.
The best solution for software is an Imaging tool. The ones built into modern operating systems (like Windows 7+) are fine. Or buying the well-known Acronis TrueImage. This can be set up to be automatic. Weekly is probably enough unless you experiment with software a lot.
The second type of backup is for all your stuff – all the files you create or receive and store in the digital world. If your needs are simple, the above imaging software may be fine. Just image it all together. If you do this, set the backup for ‘daily incremental’. This will catch all the changes made each day.
The downside of imaging your data is access to that backup. If your system goes down or is stolen, you have no quick access to your stuff inside the backup until you have a similar environment and software installed. Go to your old Vista computer, for example, and you’ll have to jump through hoops to get at your Win7 backup.
A better solution is simple file copy or zipping. Those copies of all your created files can then be accessed at any time by any OS – even a floppy. Cobain Gravity has been my recent free choice for that. Plug in your backup drive to another computer and get to work.
For your most critical files where you want to save current versions more often than daily, I recommend File Hamster. When that file or folder is added to File Hamster, ever time you hit save, it makes an additional copy to the location of your choice. (a different drive) This has saved my bacon a couple of times when a file got corrupted. And this is much more likely to happen on files you use all the time.
The program is not presented as free but if you don’t purchase it after the trail period, it reverts to Basic mode. It’s more than worth paying for though. I wrote 2 articles about it here.
Location, location, location
The first type of backup location should be local, due again to the simple question of immediate access. In your office or nearby on the network. An external hard drive or network attached storage (NAS) are best and not expensive. Different types of backup above can be saved to different folders on the same external drive. Figure on double to triple what you have now for the size of the external drive.
Backing up to an optical disc is useful for long term archives, but is too manual for automated backup. Thumb drives have longevity issues and are again too manual.
Unfortunately, a local backup will not save your files in the event of a fire, major theft or other such disaster. For that you need a secondary off-site backup. But it should be secondary. Automated remote backup still has too many possible points of failure to be your primary solution.
Storing an OS image in the cloud is problematic as it is large and thus takes massive time and bandwidth to upload. Not to mention the cost of the on-line storage. And then if you have a failure, you cannot restore the OS from the cloud. You need an OS to get to the OS.
The simple off-site solution for the OS is making a periodic image to portable media and storing that safely off-site. Then you can still restore if your local backup solution fails. It’s a bit manual, but ensures it’s easy & workable.
The focus of your automated secondary backup is for your critical files. On-line file-sharing and backup services have been growing in leaps and bounds. I even researched setting up one myself. But they also have issues. Make sure the service is suited to the task. Some sites delete your files automatically after a certain period of time. They’re not designed for backups.
Copying your critical data over the wide open Internet is akin to sharing – not a fine idea. Some suppliers may add encryption, but make sure it’s also encrypted in transit or you’re exposing your content where it’s most vulnerable. Complicating your choices are the cost and that some use quite proprietary techniques. This can again create access issues in the even of system failure.
In a recent article by Fred Langa, he introduces an alternative solution. You use the online storage of your choice. And you use a local pre-encryption tool that automatically encrypts, then uploads to that on-line service whenever you copy files to it. He used Boxcryptor. (requires .Net4)
You set up Boxcryptor and point it to your on-line storage. Then you set up a secondary backup routine in your backup software to copy to your designated Boxcryptor folder on an automated schedule. Backup to Boxcryptor to On-line storage. Voila – automated and secure on-line backup. The basics are free for personal use.
From a convenience and recovery standpoint, those encrypted files are then available from all platforms anywhere – Android , Mac, & PC.
Be sure the size of your backup routine is less than the size of the on-line space you have. BoxCryptor does allow you to connect multiple services. Also make sure you’re backing up to the virtual drive, not the BoxCryptor.bc folder, or the files won’t be encrypted. Same with decrypting them – get them from the virtual folder or they won’t be decrypted – they’ll just be gibberish. PCWorld talks about using BoxCryptor here.
Fred’s article talks about using it with Skydrive. Boxcryptor supports a wide range of on-line providers, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and many more.
Just make sure you use LastPass or some other tool to securely store that unrecoverable Boxcryptor password. In a place that can be accessed any time. Otherwise, you’ve added a key point of failure.
I also reviewed several other encryption options. Some of the on-line storage companies are offering software to do much the same with their own tools but reviews said they were slow. Several tools only work with the big 3 or even only with Dropbox.
And then there’s ownCloud. A little more geeky, but it lets you create your own on-line storage in whatever web server space you have available (assuming your web host is OK with that). It can also manage other sites, mount webDav supporting services like Box, DropBox, GoogleDocs (which it will also open) and supports FTP. It will also give you a cross-platform tool for accessing files, calendar, contacts, bookmarks, galleries and so forth.
Blend that with Boxcryptor and you have your own custom solution.
Although Food and Science are technically more applicable to a science blog, due to the psychological nature of our food relationships, I’ve tended to discuss the subject more over on my other blog. But in this case, I wanted to share it on both.
Firstly, in North America, research lead to an anti-fat movement in the 1960′s. We shifted to margarine and low-fat foods. Unfortunately, low fat meant low taste, so food producers replaced fat with sugar and salt and foods became increasingly processed. (we won’t go into artificial sweeteners)
After millions spent on research, they discovered the “bliss point” – the optimum level of sugar that triggered peoples pleasure centre. Sugar became the #2 ingredient in many foods.
Unfortunately, the high sugar content had several consequences. For one, people became habituated to it and expected it, even in baby food. For another, the body stores excess sugar as fat. High sugar levels lead to a much larger weight problem than the original fat content did. Further, the liver got overloaded and plugged up, leading to a lot of middle fat and a number of heath consequences.
As it turns out, the early research was faulty. Only certain types of fat are an issue. Healthy fats in a natural form are part of a balanced diet. But independent sugar research was not healthy for a food scientists career so there was a major lack of research for some years. The government food guides remain much the same.
A further issue that is less discussed is that sugar is addictive. Once we become habituated, the body craves it and our natural signals for “enough” or for specific nutrients are suppressed. Craving overwrites healthy eating habits. This becomes very clear if you’ve ever gone on a low carb diet or a fast. The first 3-4 days are often accompanied by craving and withdrawal symptoms. And once off a diet, most people easily re-engage their old habits again and step back into their addictions.
Don’t believe foods can be addictive? Scientists now have a scale called the “Yale Food Addiction Scale” from the Yale Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity.
Further complicating the issue is that some people use sugar and carbs as “comfort” foods to soothe stress. Rather than finding healthy release such as in meditation or exercise, we reach for the candy drawer or ice cream.
For many, changing such behaviour becomes a contest of will which increases stress and drives up the craving. Personal failure doesn’t help. Or you play denial mind games with yourself much like an alcoholic.
(and yes, I did a juice fast last month and supported some others in a forum having struggles)
Here’s a Harvard Medical School article “Why stress causes people to overeat“
I also noticed mention in the tech rags that Microsoft is experimenting with a bra to monitor stress levels so you can be notified when you may eat badly. But isn’t that like a new Pavlov’s signal? Get ready to eat!
The most immediate thing you can do is find a new outlet for stress. Maybe having a tennis ball in the drawer you can squeeze when a craving hits? Or a bit of fresh air? Change of scene? Just watch the feelings. They’re your flags for triggers.
The idea here is not to get into a fight with it or yourself but to deflect it. This is all about energy. Getting into resistance or a will battle will make it stronger and can add layers to the issue for you.
Also, this is not a long term solution – the motivators are still present. This is to get you started. And make healthy choices here – you don’t want to replace one bad behaviour with another. Shopping can also be addictive, for example.
In the talk below, they recommend introducing meditation. This introduces several benefits. For one, it is a great way to release stress. Secondly, it makes us more settled and peaceful. And thirdly, it makes us more conscious and self-aware. Another term for this is mindful. Then we can make better choices.
I talk here about types of meditation.
As you become a little more conscious, you become more aware of the process that’s taking place within you and you begin to catch your triggers. When the urge comes up, see if you’re settled enough to allow the feeling to arise and feel what it’s coming from.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna talks of the impulse to act. When we’re trying to change behaviour, at first we realize after the fact that we’ve done it again. We have a Doh! moment. When we’re less caught, we begin to recognize what we’re doing during the act. We begin to be a bit more conscious about it, maybe enough to make a new choice or to stop. But often then we get into internal battles over it. Finally, we can notice the impulse to act, the feeling, as it is arising. Then we have real choice – do we act or not? Do we let it go or fight?
That is also the point where we can find out what this driver is that’s arising. Instead of getting into a battle over choice, we can investigate the urge itself. What is the feeling or energy behind this urge? Big stuff like food can have layers. Early associations of food with mother, reinforced by sweets as rewards, adapted as a stress coping tool, and so forth. So similarly, we may have to resolve each layer to end it, most recent backwards.
If you can see your own dynamic, you can recognize it no longer serves and let it go. But that takes a little skill and practice. It’s usually easier to start on simpler things than chronic lifetime drivers. Food associations can be the deepest as they’re often programmed in early childhood.
But this is much more effective than deflecting (distracting ourselves) I mentioned above. We want to resolve the energy behind it to heal.
Finally, this 2 part talk by Dr. Pam Peeke: Hacked by a Cupcake. She talks about current science on the subject and solutions.
It’s not just food addiction – it’s toxic lifestyle.
She talks about reward, food as a “science fair project”, and a lot of current research. The dopamine reward cycle and why it’s addictive. It’s not the consumption – it’s the cues. Decreased impulse control. Why the will doesn’t work.
“Stress is the Achilles heel of addiction”.
Every choice changes gene expression which changes your destiny. We pass those epigenetic markers on to our children. By our lifestyle, we gift or condemn them.
Mind, Mouth & Muscle:
- eat whole foods
- move your body. Walking dampens the obesity gene.
- meditation, with initial research results.
Start with the mind, otherwise you fall off.
The importance of sleep. Coffee.
At a TEDx talk in Victoria, Ian MacKenzie explores the history of the mask that came to be used by Anonymous, then the Occupy movement. Then he looks at the Occupy movement itself. Then how to Occupy the Noosphere with Memes via Mindbombs.
What is the ultimate Mindbomb we could release?
Ian was also involved in Velcrow Ripper’s film, Occupy Love. While not as far reaching as the 2 previous films in his trilogy, it does better explain the Occupy phenomena than anything else I’ve seen.
< Part 3
If you haven’t already, now is the time to finish the content for your fixed Pages.
When your site is ready, take down the landing page and… you’re live!
But there’s one more step.
10) Redirect the old site to the new
Given you have probably built up search engine rankings and reader bookmarks, your typical choice will be to activate a referral service to bring people from your old blog to the new site automatically. Then those clicks and SEO won’t be lost.
WordPress will take care of this for you for $13 a year. On the old site, go to the Dashboard and click Store. Then Site Redirect. Once the domain is in and you purchase, it’s live.
b- leave the old blog as is? Not a good idea. Search engines like Google may see your new duplicate site as a spam site and not index it. Dead SEO.
c- Delete the original .com blog.
d- if your old site is small, you can go into the old posts and replace them with links to the same post on the new site, with a small explanation. But that’s a lot of grunt work. Molly mentioned problems with forwards, but it’s worked fine for me. It would be a problem if you have not matched Permalinks though, as discussed prior (Step 6).
e- Labnol offers a process to redirect you, saving the WP fee. (see his Step 3-4) But you’ll need to be a little DNS server savvy to follow this for your registrar. I’ve not tried it.
If this sounds like it’s all too much, don’t let my proneness to detail overwhelm you. Molly described this in 4 steps, if you want to follow her simpler version for Bluehost. Or you can pay your host (some will) or WordPress to move your blog for a fee. WP calls it “Guided Transfer“. It’s also in the WP.com Dashboard, Store. You then need to pay someone to configure it for you or all you get is a generic default theme. But plug-ins are not hard if you take the time to look around or choose the Keep it Simple approach (see Part 3). Just take it a step at a time.
You may also find it useful to run your site by Google’s Pagespeed check. Just keep in mind that some of the things they suggest may not be in your control. Does it matter if your theme could compress the CSS by 3KB?
For this process, I want to thank:
Molly Greene: Moving from Free to hosted WP blog
I hope this series helps you in your migration. I’m very pleased to have made the shift myself. My new site is far more advanced and customized than at WP.com. But it did take longer to tweak and experiment than I thought.